For my business, The Art Of Change Skills For Life™, the year is off to a great start. And I’m just as delighted as can be to announce that it just got greater! How? My daughter, Aden Kirschner, and her business partner, Shana Merlin, both of Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation, or Merlin Works Improv for short, are now licensed providers for 2013 of The Art Of Change Skills For Life™ training programs and materials. There are three reasons in particular that this excites me.
1. I get to work with my amazing daughter! This is fulfilling beyond my ability to describe. I think so highly of her abilities as a teacher, and her character as a person. To work with her is a dream come true.
2. I’m not an inexpensive speaker, and on occasion, working with me is more than some client’s limited budget. In the past, this meant saying no. Now, I have this reason to say YES, because I can offer this very affordable and very effective high impact improvisational team building training, using my licensed material. WOOHOO! YES!
3. Try as I might, I’m not getting any younger! Since the passing of my father last year, I’m now thinking about my legacy, how I’m going to leave this world a better place when I’m gone. This partnership helps me with that.
Let me tell you a little about my daughter, her business partner, and their first offering of my work.
Aden Kirschner was built to teach and to perform from the get-go. I know more than I’m willing to say here, but this much I can tell you: From a very young age (6!), Aden has a way of connecting and engaging with people. She’s comfortable in front of an audience and successful in leading groups. As a member of the Ashland High School debate team, she won the state championship in the ‘After Dinner Speech’ category, and as a student project, she wrote, directed, produced and starred in a well received performance piece titled ‘Random Things.’ Since graduating from college, she has focused her imagination and curiosity on learning everything she can about the ins and outs of improvisational comedy. And in my view, she is amazing.
Aden Kirschner was built to teach and to perform from the get-go. I know more than I’m willing to say here, but this much I can tell you: From a very young age (6!), Aden has had a way of connecting with people, speaking with wisdom, and making them laugh. She’s comfortable in front of an audience and successful in leading groups. As a member of the Ashland High School debate team, she won the state championship in the ‘After Dinner Speech’ category, and as a student project, she wrote, directed, produced and starred in a well received performance piece titled ‘Random Things.’ Since graduating from college, she has focused her imagination and curiosity on learning everything she can about the ins and outs of improvisational comedy. Now, she is an award winning performer, skilled improv teacher, facilitator and trainer, and currently operates as the Corporate Training and Events Coordinator for the Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation. Her performance and corporate training clients include Austin Waldorf High School, Hewlett Packard, Safe Place and Dell. As a teacher, Aden seeks to create a fun, safe environment where people can explore and grow new practical skills to help them on stage, in business and in their private life.
Aden has an extensive background in education. She has been teaching and facilitating using improv comedy skills since 1995. In addition to giving performance and communication skills training, she has also taught writing and conversational ESL. In 2000 she was published in the Fort Lewis College Freshman Writing Course book. Aden joined educational software powerhouse Compass Learning in 2006, where she spent nearly three years crafting topics like algebra and biology into fun, dynamic and engaging learning activities that retained 110% of their curricular importance.
She holds a BA in European history from Fort Lewis College, and in 2002 she facilitated the creation of a brand new Leadership program for their students that explored the application of improv performance in professional skills areas like communication, customer service and entrepreneurship. With nearly thirty years of experience on stage, Aden has been winning awards and recognition as a speaker, singer and performer since she was six years old.
She is a fixture in the Austin improv community and is frequently sought out to play in shows with multiple theater companies in town; including world famous vaudeville revue: Esther’s Follies where she spent the majority of 2011 wearing huge wigs, singing big songs and getting massive laughs. She can be seen performing most regularly at Austin’s premier theater venue the ZACH, with Merlin Works faculty troupe, the Known Wizards; or with B. Iden Payne Award winners, Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musical Comedy. Labeled as “The funniest person in Austin,” by improv giant, Tom Booker, Aden joined the Merlin Works faculty in 2009 where her performance classes are in high demand.
She now additionally promotes the Corporate Training side of the Institute as the Training and Events Coordinator, where she seeks to improve the way people communicate with each other, one organization at a time.
Her partner, Shana Merlin, is the founder of Merlin Works Institute in Austin, Texas. Shana has trained with some of the top teachers in the field of improvisation including Keith Johnstone, creator of TheatreSports and author of Impro and Impro for Storytellers; Paul Sills, founder of Second City and The Compass and editor of Improvisation for the Theatre; and Gary Austin, member of The Committee and founder of The Groundlings. In addition to her teaching and corporate training career, Shana Merlin is a highly acclaimed performer.
Shana Merlin is one of the most experienced and effective improv teachers in Texas. The former Dean of The Heroes School of Improvisational Theatre, her clients include the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Whole Foods, The University of Texas McCombs School of Business, and PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as adults and children throughout the community. Shana founded her own company, Merlin-Works, in 2003 to provide custom training, interactive presentations, and comedy shows to businesses and organizations using improvisation. The Austin Improv Collective awarded her “Best Improv Teacher” and “Best Improv Class.” In 2008, she opened the Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation now based at ZACH Theatre, offering classes in shortform gameplay and narrative longform improv.
In addition to her teaching and corporate training career, Shana Merlin is a highly acclaimed performer. Since 1996, Shana has been a professional improviser, performing from Calgary to San Francisco to Atlanta to Las Vegas to London. Shana graduated with Highest Honors from the prestigious Plan II Honors Program at UT and went on to write and perform her funny and topical one-woman shows, which were awarded “Best of the Fest” at FronteraFest. Shana is a founding member of Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals, winner of Best Improv Troupe in Austin in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll and two time winner of “Best of the Week” at FronteraFest, and Get Up, a two person improv troupe with Shannon McCormick.
Hailed by her students as “an incredibly great teacher: fun, open, organized, focused, and so very talented,” Shana continues to offer improvisation workshops to all ages and skill levels.
Merlin Works Institute delivers highly effective and affordable improvisational workshops and team building programs to individuals, corporate clients, and at association events. Merlin Works trainers and teachers have won numerous awards, including Best Improv Teacher, Best Improv Class, Austin Critics Table Awards, B Iden Payne Awards, and Best of the Fest at Frontera Fest.
So am I excited about this new partnership? You bet I am! These talented young people are going to make it possible for me to share my work on persuasive communication and successful relationship with a wider audience, while helping me meet the needs of my more budget-challenged clients.
The first program that we’re going to roll out this year is Persuasion Works – Influence and the Art of Persuasion, and it delivers the following benefits to participants:
* Learn to navigate difficult situations in this invigorating and interactive session.
* Minimize conflict and simplify negotiation as we explore the tools of positivity and persuasion.
* Strategize a plan for your next salary negotiation, vendor conflict, or any interpersonal challenge.
Persuasion Works is intended for anyone seeking to resolve conflicts faster and conduct negotiations more effectively.
◦. Reduce stress and increase work environment positivity.
◦. Remove obstacles standing between you and your goals.
◦. Gain the tools to tackle difficult but necessary conversations.
◦. Improve your partnerships in business and at home.
For more information, or to bring this powerful yet very affordable training program to your organization, contact us here at The Art Of Change LLC.
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